Photo from AFC

Sarina Bolden is proud of the progress the national women’s football team made following its semifinal exit in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

The Pinay booters fell 2-0 to South Korea in the semifinals Thursday, Feb. 3 at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, India, ending a dream run that saw them secure a historic berth in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Bolden turned emotional during a post-match interview on the AFC’s broadcast feed, reflecting on how the Philippines made strides since her debut back in the 2018 Asian Cup.

“This team has grown so much,” said Bolden. “Just like in the past couple of years, look how far we’ve come playing against like Myanmar, Nepal and we’re barely able to compete with them and not look at us.

“Now, we’re competing with Australia, South Korea. I’m so f______ proud of this team and how much we brought to the table. A lot of people doubted us, but we came here, we fought every single game. Now we are making a name for ourselves.”

Bolden had been part of teams that made some promise to come up short in the conclusion of their campaigns.

But the 25-year-old also said the mentality has changed during her second Asian Cup stint, this time with former Australia coach Alen Stajcic at the helm.

That was evident in the World Cup-clinching triumph over Taiwan in the quarterfinals when the Philippines showed poise even after conceding an equalizing goal in regulation and being close to suffering defeat in the shootout.

For Bolden, whose penalty kick sealed the historic triumph, the team has more to offer as attention shifts to the World Cup where the Philippines will try to focus on now just being there, but to once again pull off some surprises.

“Philippines, you’re gonna remember this team and you’re going to see us in the World Cup. So don’t forget about us because we’re coming back,” she said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (